In a 1.20 Huffington Post-ing, psychologist, neuroscientist and Emory University professor Drew Western has explained the Barack Obama problem — his stunning failure to show a semblance of balls in his dealings with Republicans — clearly and concisely,
“It is a truly remarkable feat, in just one year’s time, to turn the fear and anger voters felt in 2006 and 2008 at a Republican Party that had destroyed the economy, redistributed massive amounts of wealth from the middle class to the richest of the rich and the biggest of big businesses, and waged a trillion-dollar war in the wrong country, into populist rage at whatever Democrat voters can cast their ballot against.
“All of this was completely predictable. And it was predicted. I wrote about it for the first time here on the sixth day of Obama’s presidency, and many of us have written about it in the intervening year.
“The President’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters he had sent packing twice in a row in the name of ‘bipartisanship,’ and his refusal ever to utter the words ‘I am a Democrat’ and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy — and hence competing parties — for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility.
“What happens if you refuse to lay the blame for the destruction of our economy on anyone — particularly the party, leaders, and ideology that were in power for the last 8 years and were responsible for it? What happens if you fail to ‘brand’ what has happened as the Bush Depression or the Republican Depression or the natural result of the ideology of unregulated greed, the way FDR branded the Great Depression as Hoover’s Depression and created a Democratic majority for 50 years and a new vision of what effective government can do? What happens when you fail to offer and continually reinforce a narrative about what has happened, who caused it, and how you’re going to fix it that Americans understand, that makes them angry, that makes them hopeful, and that makes them committed to you and your policies during the tough times that will inevitably lie ahead?
“The answer was obvious a year ago, and it is even more obvious today: Voters will come to blame you for not having solved a problem you didn’t create, and you will allow the other side to create an alternative narrative for what’s happened (government spending, deficits, big government, socialism) that will stick. And it will particularly stick if you make no efforts to prevent it from starting or sticking.”